Signed MOU highlights a pilot project designed to assess the needs and gaps in sustainable and certified production. It will involve the participation of 250 producers.

Mexico City, May 2024: RSPO, Solidaridad, and AAK have joined forces to advance sustainability in the Mexican palm oil value chain and increase engagement with smallholder farmers. Through a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the strategic partnership has sharpened its focus on identifying gaps towards certified production and halting deforestation, with the collaboration of Mexican smallholders.

The agreement was signed by Camilo Santos, RSPO Deputy Director of Market Transformation; Octavio Diaz, President of AAK Americas and Vice President of AAK AB; Gregorio Gómez, President of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Edible Oils and Shortening Producers (ANIAME); and Jorge Solano, Solidaridad Project Manager.

“Latin America continues to lead by example, and this latest agreement between the RSPO, Solidaridad and AAK underscores the vital role of effective partnerships in driving sustainability forward,” said Joseph D’Cruz, RSPO CEO. “Smallholders are at the core of Mexico’s palm oil sector, and it is fundamental to strengthen our partnership with them throughout their journey towards RSPO Certification. We must ensure that the progress of the sustainable palm oil sector paves better livelihoods and economic growth for these smallholders and their communities.”

“At Solidaridad, we believe that strategic alliances are essential to support small producers so they can work with nature in mind,” said Jorge Solano, Solidaridad Project Manager. 

Roadmap towards RSPO Certification

One of the key commitments of the agreement is a pilot project designed to assess the needs and gaps in sustainable and certified production. It will involve the participation of 250 producers as well as four extraction plants. The final goal of the pilot is to elaborate a roadmap to ensure smallholders become RSPO Certified. 

RSPO joins this project within the framework of the collaboration with Solidaridad in Latin America to align its strategies throughout the region by sharing knowledge, experience and success stories to boost the sector’s transformation. Additionally, ANIAME is a strategic partner with the aim of promoting structural change and modernising the sector.

The pilot project evaluation will be carried out in two stages: first, involving the use of the Extension Solution digital tool, designed by Solidaridad Brazil and adapted by Colombia to meet the standards of independent smallholders. This tool will measure the producer’s degree of compliance with the RSPO Standards and provide immediate results on field activities.

Second, the AAK monitoring and evaluation framework will be used to generate data on compliance with company policy. To achieve this, topics will be evaluated at three levels:

  • Prosperity: aspects such as business models, internal control systems and good agricultural practices will be considered. 
  • Personnel: issues such as child labour, women’s participation and human rights will be discussed.
  • Plantation: topics such as the use of agrochemicals, deforestation and the protection of natural areas will be addressed.

Pilot project for smallholders

The main goal of the “Getting to Know Smallholders’ ” project, a collaboration between AAK, Solidaridad, ANIAME and RSPO, is to evaluate and identify the conditions of small producers in the AAK supply chain in Mexico. The project aims to identify high-impact actions and establish an effective method to promote certified production under the RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard. 

This agreement represents a significant step towards sustainability and responsibility in the oil palm industry in Mexico, laying the foundations for future collaborations and actions that benefit both the environment and local communities.

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